The European Congress of Radiology is back. European radiologists returned to Vienna in force last week for ECR 2023, surprising many naysayers with crowded presentation rooms and exhibit booths.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the first ECR meeting since 2019 to be held in the conference’s traditional timeframe of early March. And after a lightly attended ECR 2022, held during Europe’s July vacation season, many were watching with bated breath to see if the conference could mount a comeback.
Fortunately, ECR 2023 didn’t disappoint. While attendance didn’t hit the high water mark set prior to the pandemic, it was strong enough to satisfy most that the show was indeed healthy, with chatter on-site placing attendance at around 17,000.
As with RSNA 2022, interest in AI was strong. AI-based content permeated the scientific sessions as well as the exhibit floor, and the show’s AI Theatre was packed for nearly every presentation.
In his opening address, ECR 2023 President Dr. Adrian Brady of Ireland addressed concerns about AI’s impact on radiology in the years to come, characterizing it as one of the “winds of change” that should be embraced rather than shunned.
Other major trends at ECR 2023 included:
Patient Safety – Many sessions discussed how to reduce risk when scanning patients, ranging from lowering radiation dose to limiting the amount of contrast media to MRI scanning of patients with metallic implants.
Sustainability – Energy challenges have gripped the European continent since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, and imaging energy conservation was a key focus across several sessions.
Workhorse Modalities – Unlike RSNA, where new product launches were focused on high-end premium systems, scanner introductions at ECR 2023 concentrated on workhorse offerings like mid-range CT and 1.5-tesla MRI.
ECR is indeed back. It may not yet be a mandatory show for most U.S. radiologists, but it has regained its importance for anyone interested in a more global look at medical imaging. And given the European emphasis on research, it’s a great place to learn about new technologies before they appear in North America.